Walking trails - Ring of Spike & Glasis trail

As well as our fantastic fortress which tells our rich history in its dozen museums and exhibitions, you can walk among living history by tackling one of our walking trails.  Both encompass the stunning 80 acres of land outside our fortress, which is a beautiful mix of grassland, ferns, forrested areas, beaches and pathways.  Your FREE map and downloadable app guide the way and each walk is well signposted for your comfort. 


The Glasis trail is a 1.4 kilometer, 15 - 25 mintue loop walk around our fortress on a flat and solid gravel pathway, making it suitable for buggies and those with less mobility.  'Glasis' is the French word for slope and it is the term given to the man made hill that surrounds and leads to our fortress, designed to slow down attackers.  The raised walkway at the center of the island allows the walker unbelievable views back to Cobh, out across the other harbour islands and towns and looking out to the mouth of Cork harbour, the worlds second largest natural harbour.  Watch as small fishing boats and huge cruise liners and merchant ships pass in and out of this enormous water way.    

The walkway is adorned with information panels that tell you all about the harbours wildlife, sealife and the history of this place, both geographical and human.  We highly recommend you allow time to take in this walk with its stunning views on a visit to Spike Island Cork. 



Coming in at 2.4 kilometers, the Ring of Spike trail takes around 30 - 45 mintues to complete and it lets you get right in among the island rich history.  Hugging the islands coastline, many visitors start at the island pier and walk past fishermens cottages to the back of the island, passing wild grasslands.  At the back of the island a convict cemetary sits at the end of an island football pitch, a grim reminder of the prison days.  Some 1300 souls are beleived to be buried on the island, victims of the cruel famine era prison.  On up the glasis hill the walk joins the back of the island for stunning views of the harbour mouth, where Titanic once sat awaiting its final passengers.  Coming down the hill on the opposite side, visitors arrive to the abandoned village, a place that onces teemed with life in a rich microcosm of Irish society.  A church, old school and a mix of large and small houses hint at the vibrancy of the place.  

Here many vistors continue the walk along our north beach, which is amazing for sea shells, sea glass and unexpected washed up finds.  At the beaches end the walk rejoins the start point by the pier.  The entire route has infromation panels explaining the buildings and history, and there are picnic spots and benches dotted at various intervals.  And there is a mixture of roadways, gravel paths and a short time is spent on grass (by the convict cemetary), so have appropriate footwear on wet days.

Popular with second time visitors and lovers of nature and wildlife, we highly recommend this scenic walking trail to all visitors.